Pokemon – The Competitive Conundrum

The past few Pokemon generations I’ve found myself thinking more about the journey and what was important to me in a Pokemon game. I still loved the games but something started fading away for me and I’ve finally been able to pinpoint exactly what it is. If you haven’t heard, a recent phenomenon called Twitch Plays Pokemon has emerged allowing people around the world to all play Pokemon at once with a rush of inputs in a text box. At its peak 100,000 people were all playing Pokemon Red together and we triumphantly beat the game over 17 days of anarchy and surprises. Catching Zapdos was a highlight for me as I was one of the people pressing A and scrolling down to the Master Ball, an unbelievable accomplishment to pull off. We all worked together and after much hard work, coordination, confusion, sacrifices and ledge jumps; Red became champion.

i_can_show_you_the_world_by_anneuh-d77y2u8

A huge output of artwork, jokes, comics, songs and even a religion spurred based on the Pokemon we carried with us (and lost) along the way. People around the world grew attached to the Pokemon in the party and Bird Jesus, Lord Helix, AA-J, The Fonz, Air Lapras and All Terrain Venomoth all became stars not because they were perfect, but because they fought. Whether or not you found Twitch Plays Pokemon amusing, it certainly did highlight a lot of strengths of the series and bring a lot of people together. All these Pokemon meant something, despite huge obvious weaknesses and lack of balance.

This brings me to discuss the modern internet-enabled Pokemon experience. I like being competitive in Pokemon because battles are a lot of fun. However I’ve now realised the exact problem with raising a competitive Pokemon; the journey means nothing. If you want a Pokemon with an appropriate nature, strong IVs and balanced EV’s you have to drop all attachments to your current party and treat the thing like a weapon. To make a competitive team, the first thing you have to do is drop the Pokemon you caught in the beginning. Despite being right by your side as you obtained 8 badges, explored caves, saved towns and conquered the champion, your Pidgeot has the wrong nature and it’s EV’s haven’t been distributed evenly. It’s useless. The next casualties are all the Pokemon you breed that don’t fit your criteria. Suddenly you either have 50 Pidgey’s in your PC or you’ve had to release them (in the Pokemon World if somebody did this, they’d either be a farmer or a monster). Then you finally water it down to a perfect Pokemon and it’s time to train it with a very structured procedure in specific environments. Now, how much do you love this new Pokemon? For me the answer is not very much. I look at it and its eyes are dead, but I can still hear the cries of the Pokemon sacrificed along the way.

pokenope

I appreciate the depth to Pokemon’s mechanics and especially the variety that’s possible with movesets and individual strengths, but not the methods. I can’t battle without heart, and it’s difficult to feel attached to something that was born yesterday in a daycare factory. Here’s a few suggestions I have to change this emphasis and keep the depth.

1. IVs are balanced. This means no Pokemon can possibly have 31 Individual Value in every stat, it’d work the same as EV’s currently do in terms of distribution. So if you want a perfect speed stat to fit perfectly into your speed graph, you’re either going to have to have average attack or defense. The Pokemon I caught in the grass should be able to have at least one thing going for it, slightly higher defense for example. At the very least, it would be a mystery for the opponent to worry about.

2. EV’s all have the same peak. This means it doesn’t matter where you train or where you go, you can always get stronger in every category. This is how Pokemon Blue and Red worked and there was nothing wrong with it.

3. Natures should be abolished. Honestly, they are useless. Every Pokemon has only one stat as it’s highest and lowest, it should be that nature. All Slowpokes should be Relaxed, all Rhyhorns should be Adamant. There has to be a different outcome or category for this because only a small handful of natures have ANY use on most Pokemon, meaning 85% of them have no purpose.

4. Add a new stat. This could backfire huge but it’s just an idea, an extra “Heart” stat for beating Gyms with a particular Pokemon or simply using them before you become champion. It could slightly increase your luck or critical hits. I would happily accept that compromise, in fact it would be an encouraging underdog strategy. To stop people abusing it, make it impossible if a Pokemon came out of an egg or was traded.

pokestop

Alright, I’m done trying to be an expert. I still enjoy Pokemon and I don’t think these things are necessary, but they would certainly improve my experience and push the focus back in the right place. I started Pokemon Blue a few weeks ago and can not believe how well it holds up. I spent 50 hours getting a balanced team and exploring as I beat the game again, and loved every second of it. The cartridge still works and saves properly to my surprise and delight (unfortunately the same can’t be said for Pokemon Silver, works but doesn’t save anymore due to having a more complex cartridge). Now I’m currently playing Pokemon Sapphire on the Game Boy Player and it feels really grand on the big screen, almost like EarthBound. The EV / breeding problem still exists in this game but it’s not my concern, because my team is taking on Hoenn, not the entire world. This also has an effect on the legendary Pokemon, their presence in the world is much greater and they feel more ominous and cool when the world they effect is actually important.

Anyway, the main purpose of writing this is to see what you guys think. Do you still enjoy Pokemon as much as the old games, and do you play competitively? I honestly think the game has to go back in a more simplistic direction or it will stagnate, X/Y is the very limit for me. I enjoyed the game but now when I boot it up, it’s just a misery of menu’s. I want to hear how you guys approach Pokemon and your thoughts on competitive teams, and whether or not you think making it simpler would be a step backwards. Personally I feel like if more people have the confidence and time to battle; popularity, variety and competition will all increase to a new level.

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19 Responses to Pokemon – The Competitive Conundrum

  1. eaglebob345 says:

    I wish they left the challenge in the games, I miss getting to the end of the game with my one dinky exp. share that one pokemon held, while the league pokemon are 10+ levels above mine. The last challenge we got was from Platinum, B,W,B2, W2, X, and Y all made the league look like a joke. I miss the feeling of powerlessness when feebly fighting the league champion. Red (not league champ, but region champ), Blue, Lance, Steven (as league champ and region champ), Wallace, and Cynthia were the greatest challenges in their games, while Alder, Iris, N, and Diantha were pushovers. I really wish they wouldn’t dumb down the difficulty for those new age players. They should make it a real challenge to beat these games, even a trade embargo until you beat the league should be a thing.

    I’ve thought the same thing of natures ever since they came out. Most natures don’t work for most Pokemon, and neutral natures are abominations. IV’s are an annoying concept that also ruins good pokemon, as much as crappy natures. The only concept they should have made into a thing should have been EV’s, but with a small twist like what you suggested. You can only max out the EV’s if you had that Pokemon before a certain time in-game, no eggs, no trades and even then it is based off of when you caught them, how many KO’s they received, and if you ever give them herbs. Lots of possibilities, but we are limited to who has the least amount of life possible to breed 200+ eggs for one pokemon.

    Also, some pokemon need boosts in stats while others need reductions. What possible good could Mewtwo, Garchomp, and Tyranitar getting stronger forms do, when they had 14 others starters to choose from, and some pokemon who should have already had evolutions, like Delibird and Luvdisc? They need to make another region with new pokemon and a lot of evolutions like Hoenn and Sinnoh had. Unova was disappointing not because of what it had, but because of what it didn’t have: connections to the past. Why are Alomomola and Luvdisc not related? Tauros and Bouffalant? Even Throh and Sawk could have been female branches of Tyrogue. If they wanted to put an interesting spin in the games, one they introduced already, have more non-evolvable baby legendaries, like Phione. I would love a mini-Articuno, Moltres, or Zapdos or even mini-Raikou, Entei, and Suicune.

    • Grubdog says:

      Interesting points, nice to get a discussion going but I disagree on some things at the end of your post. The mystery behind a lot of Pokemon should remain that, directly linking them would take away a lot of stories and imagination. You can connect the dots based on some of their designs and locations, that’s enough for me. Also I’m fine with overpowered legendaries, Mewtwo is meant to be a badass almost invincible Pokemon. Just makes him more fun to take down on that rare occasion. I don’t mind my favourite Pokemon having low core base stats either, as long as they’re still unique then the best they can be is enough for me. I’ve used Butterfree and Beedrill quite effectively (though they’ve slowly improved each gen) =D

      Baby legendary birds would be so cute, but also perhaps take away some of their mystique and rarity. It would be cool to see another though, maybe one could hatch, or one of the legendary dogs could have a pup! It could explain why they roam around the land at the speed of light, looking for a young one haha.

      Agreed with the difficulty too, the EXP sharing in Pokemon X/Y was a joke and took the fun out of balancing the team (I just turned it off), it made battles and exploration much lazier when you didn’t need to use all your Pokemon at all.

  2. Torkell says:

    The problem with saves on Pokémon Gold/Silver is that it uses a button cell/coin battery to power not only the RAM for the save but also the clock, and the latter chews power (Red/Blue didn’t have the RTC which is why it lasts longer). The actual battery is a standard CR2025 button cell soldered to the PCB – you can either find a replacement with solder tabs and resolder it, or some people have managed to lever the tabs off the old battery and tape them to a new one. Opening the cartridge either needs a gamebit screwdriver, or can be done with a small pair of pliers or similar.

    On Pokémon itself, my sister and I both played Red/Blue and Gold/Silver, and she’s played more recent ones as well. We used to have a regular weekend mini-tournament with friends after church and her strategy of “selection by cuteness” combined with Elite Four training (put your trainee first, then swap it with your bruiser as your first action) ended up with a surprisingly powerful team that dominated everyone.

  3. Skotski says:

    Gen 1 was the last pokemon game I played to the end until Gen 5.
    It was because of how the nature of the game was changing. Competitions became less about your favorite pokemon, and more sbout which had the best stats and moves. If you couldn’t hope to win (or enjoy losing without someone badmouthing your strategy) a fight with your favorite pokemon – then what was the point? There were already other raise-and-battle games in existence. Ones where you could use your favorite creatures without worrying about its ultimate stats due to their unique enough strategies (Jade Cocoon & 2), or ones you were rewarded with many things beyond just stats for working hard on breeding them perfectly (Monster Rancher series). What the heck was the point of Pokemon? A turn-based game that focused entirely on numbers, with the facade of cute charms… where semi-unknown factors (criticals, misses, flukes, etc) rarely ever kicked in to make a difference.

    I loved the pokemon in pokemon games, but I did not care for the nature of the competitions.
    I only got into Gen V because my girlfriend at the time (now wife) loved it. It was the first Pokemon Gen she ever *clicked* with. She tried Gen 1 and Gen IV. But went ‘eh’ to both. Gen V’s strange designs that everyone hated, she loved.
    It was Gen V-2 that made me concede to the IV-EV way of raising – only so I could beat Red in the Pokemon World Tournament (which made the game awesome).

    By Gen VI, I “embraced” the competitive scene. Hardly for myself.
    Everyone was into pokemon now, especially now that it was in threee-deeee. Even oldschool Gen 1 players were coming back to the pokemon scene. All my friends were into it too.
    For their sake (some of them were intense battlers), I mastered IV-EV breeding. And to make that hard work less “these are your tools, use them to their best”, I ran tournaments with themes and prizes. No one who didn’t care for IV-EV breeding was forced to see their favorite pokemon look like idiots in the battle – they only saw their themed strategies failing against other themed strategies. Pokemon may not have had the personal closeness they once had, but they at least had a banner over them that they represented now (each team had to follow the themes given for the tournaments).
    Before we knew it, one of our weakest competitors at the start of these tournaments – someone who never IV bred, and who was often a mess with her EV training; my wife – became one of the toughest battlers out there. Rather than focusing on just stats, she mastered strategy with her pokemon. They may not have all been her favorites, but she grew to love each of them due to the time and effort she put into them (without the monotonous IV – Nature breeding fiasco the rest of us had to endure). It proved that IV-EV stuff wasn’t the most important factor in the competitions.

    Does that change my opinion about the nature of Pokemon Games nowadays?
    No. Definitely not.
    The only reason why we had fun breeding and training and battling was because of the themes of the tournaments – and because it was just us friends playing it together (we battled and still battle every Sunday). If we battled against strangers, the mood and experience would have been ruined ultimately. So the nature of the game still sucks.
    But we learned to work with it.

    That said… if they’re not going to remove anything from the games – I’d want them to add at least one more thing: Unique Quirks. I know it’ll only overconvolute the already-convolute system pokemon has nowadays, but it would at least give the convoluted system meaning again.
    ‘Unique Quirks’ would allow you to give your pokemon a single, unique ‘Quirk’ about them.
    For instance, a sandshrew that’s permanently resistant to water damage (yes, borrowing from the old episodes from the show) – or a pikachu that’s faster than a raichu (also borrowing from the old show) – or a hypno with a high attack – or a metagross able to use the Imposter ability – or a skarmory resistant to electric, but doubly weak to fire (to compensate).
    And to ensure it isn’t overused or abused – the Quirks can only be given and used as long as the pokemon is holding a certain item. So if you wanted to combine a Quirk with an item’s effect to make them impossible to beat: Not gonna’ happen.
    Yes, a Quirk system like this would throw the entire current system out the door – and no one would be able to ‘predict their opponents easily’ because of this. But I’d think it’d make the game better. People would be far less focused on the ‘perfect teams’ and far more focused on using their favorite pokemon no matter what. Against strangers or friends, they’d have fun.

    • Grubdog says:

      That’s an interesting possibility, but I think the “unpredictable” nature is writing itself with the sheer amount of Pokemon increasing. I’m playing through each gen now and there are some monsters I’d forgotten about who are really cool, and it’s getting harder to remember the existing quirks of them all. Though, I’m drooling at the thought of a Special Attacking Rhydon / Rhyperior. =D

      I love the way your friends got together and made the competitions important, I guess we can make our own rules and that’s all that matters. Back when I played the original in high school the “cool kids” would have a party of 6 level 100 Mewtwo’s and Mews and you just can’t play with people like that, I guess not much has changed in that regard with certain Pokemon stalling strategies.

      It’s also true that IVs / EVs aren’t a game changer, it’s just something in the back of my mind during a battle that I’d rather not be there.

  4. GoldenJoe says:

    First, I want to say that I love your site. There is a genuine love for playing games here that is completely absent from the sterile corporate blogs and troll-infested forums that are slowly killing our hobby. Reading your articles actually inspires me to go out and play more, and the humor is great too.

    So in fair warning, incoming wall of text. Seriously, this is life-story sized, but I feel it’s really worth discussing completely.

    On the subject of Pokemon, I largely agree. I played Blue as a kid, and then left the series all the way until Black 2 about 18 months ago. I write mobile games as a hobby/side business, and have been thinking about how a well-done Pokemon clone might be a great (if not overambitious) project, so I picked up a copy and dove right in to see what had changed since Jr High.

    I must admit, it was an absolute blast. There were shocks and challenges every step of the journey, starting with losing to my rival in the very first battle of the game! Then, at the first gym, my team suffered a narrow one-move defeat in a two-on-two battle. As strange as it sounds, it gave me resolve. I wanted to be a better trainer so that my guys could win. In time, my starter became a strong lead Pokemon, and single handedly bailed the rest of the team out of countless binds. The climax had to be the battle against the team leader Ghetsis. My Serperior (Big Green) went one-on-one against the type-advantaged super legendary at the same level and won (with a little help from bad AI). In the following battle, the enemy team took him down around halfway through, and wiped out everything else except for the Zoroark that I received from a former team member earlier in the game. It was also going to go down, but I just had a feeling that I should “trust” it, and sure enough, it got the crit and enabled me to revive Big Green and finish the battle. It was completely unscripted and against the odds, but it happened anyway. That moment was the complete realization of everything that Pokemon is.

    Pokemon is an RPG; a role-playing game. It is designed to take you on a journey in which you bond with your Pokemon. From start to finish, NPCs bombard you with lines about how Pokemon are not tools, how Pokemon and humans make each other better through their friendship, how you should care more about enjoying the opportunity to get better when fighting strong opponents than actually winning, etc. There is an enormous amount of fun and customization to be found, but it’s also supposed to teach you some degree of empathy, and promotes self-improvement through it.

    Black 2 completely succeeds. I admit, I was one of the people who “grew up” and dismissed Pokemon as a nonsensically simple RPG for kids, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. That game opened my eyes and showed me a whole new way of designing a game that is equally fun and accessible for players of all ages, with messages simple enough for kids to understand, but deep enough for adults to reflect upon.

    Eventually, I came across the “Nuzlocke Challenge” (http://www.nuzlocke.com/challenge.php), and the various comics people have constructed around it (It’s a Hard Life and the discontinued In Black and White are phenomenal). Each one was a completely different and unique interpretation of the world of Pokemon. Some played straight off the games, others are deconstructions that give a totally different perspective on the world of Pokemon. Most importantly, the risk of permanent death raised the emotional stakes in a way completely different from the games.

    I decided to try a Nuzlocke challenge on White 2, but got wiped out quickly in the beginning since I didn’t have much time or patience for the massive amount of grinding necessary.

    But then X/Y was announced.

    I pitched the idea of a blind Nuzlocke group run to several friends, and they all agreed that it would be great. We all went to the store on the morning of launch, and spent the whole day exploring the Kalos region. Every time one of us had the opportunity to catch a Pokemon, everyone would gather around in anticipation of what it would be, often with a shout of surprise once the silhouette came into focus. We battled in between gyms, and taunted each other’s choice of starter constantly. It was cooperative, competitive, and social in a way I have never seen in a game before. The EXP share which normally breaks X/Y wide open allowed us to keep a great pace and proceed without grinding, while remaining at a high enough level to remain fairly “safe” from loss. Death did occur, however, and whenever it did, it was a huge deal. We even came up with (often brutal and hilarious) stories about each Pokemon’s final moments.

    The Nuzlocke rules really changed the way the game felt, though. If anything, the bond you feel between you and your (initially unwanted) Pokemon is even stronger. Your Pokemon are so much more precious when you know you could lose them any time another trainer looks at you the wrong way, and it is a wonderful experience/lesson when you gain a new appreciation for Pokemon you would have otherwise ignored. Even though you know they are just a collection of bytes stored on the cartridge, you find yourself treating them like real creatures (again, back to the success of role-play). The new Pokemon-Amie feature drives this home even further, allowing you to “play” with and “feed” your Pokemon, which while interesting on your own, eventually starts affecting the battles. Your lead casts a quick glance to you at the start of the battle, then you start getting messages like “trainer X and pokemon X are breathing in sync” or “pokemon X is remembering the time it met trainer X”, which finally manifests into the Pokemon straight-up breaking the rules of battle and dodging attacks or summoning the willpower to cure itself of status conditions. It’s an amazing mechanic.

    The point of all that is that I understand exactly where you’re coming from, Grubdog. The relationship you forge through the single-player journey really is special, and it’s honestly difficult to understand how someone could play the entire game and see nothing but non-optimal stats.

    Now, it is very competitive online, and unfortunately, it is not always a viable option to use the Pokemon you like. People like you and I could never be happy boxing our starters in favor of a Talonflame or Protein Greninja, but at the same time, you want to win on occasion to keep it interesting.

    I looked at the post-game online battling as a supplement to the Nuzlocke, in which I could finally go back and capture some of the Pokemon I wanted, but did not find during the run. I found that I no longer wanted some of the Pokemon I anticipated before launch (Aegislash), while the game had inspired me to try to catch and train some I had never considered (Gardevoir, Meowstic, Mismagius). The idea was that these new Pokemon could supplement my campaign teams and allow me to develop new strategies with them through variety. I still named every one of them, and only chose Pokemon I liked for their design, and never for competitive viability, and it ended up being a good solution. I also caught “duplicates” of several like Meowstic, so that they could have different moves and roles.

    It ended up working very well. The male Meowstic (Vega) has been responsible for many victories with his Light Screen/Reflect support despite having the “wrong” ability, moves, and EVs, and has enabled my Delphox (Rezo) to bring down many Mewtwos who would otherwise slaughter him. Likewise, the new Weakness Policy item allows Big Green to smash through even the most dangerous legendaries. Not all of my in-game team members see the same amount of use, but the new members allowed me to build dozens of team configurations and win matches that I didn’t actually think could be won.

    I think that if you approach competitive battling from the position of figuring out how to enable your favorites to win, rather than using the “best” Pokemon, it can carry much of the same reward as the single-player journey. Just as I had to re-think my strategy after losing the the first gym leader, I had to re-think my EV distribution, moves, items, and team construction many times. Part of the role-play as a trainer is to actually train your Pokemon and give them the best possible chance in battle. It, along with caring for your Pokemon, are the two halves that make up the whole experience.

    Now, with that said, I do want to talk about the mechanics, since examining them is what got me back into Pokemon in the first place!

    First, IVs have to go. They are hidden from the player, and serve no purpose other than to provide some arbitrary and unchangeable stat boost to each Pokemon, making a Pokemon with high IVs objectively “better” than one with poor IVs. It is antithetical to the theme of the game.

    EVs on the other hand are fine. They are essentially a bonus that represents your “training”. You can even re-train Pokemon, which is nice. I would like it if the EV-reducing berries were easier to obtain or purchasable in shops, however. It’s quite a grind to grow a lot of them.

    Abilities are a good idea, but the implementation right now is very bad. Almost every pokemon has a “good” ability (usually the hidden one) and one or two “bad” abilities, which is also antithetical. Either every ability should have a use, or the “Ability Capsule” item should be easier to obtain and allow a Pokemon to acquire hidden abilities. On the subject of hidden abilities, the uneven distribution is also a problem. Why does Blaziken get access to the amazing Speed Boost, yet Serperior’s Contrary is locked away?

    Natures also have a terrible implementation right now, but I think they could be modified to become an asset to the game. Instead of simply representing an arbitrary +/-10% boost to two stats (again with there being a “best” result), they should alter all of the stats of a Pokemon, the moves that Pokemon can learn, and perhaps even the ability, similar to how male Meowstic has a different ability and learns support moves, whereas female Meowstic learns attack moves.

    I like the idea of a “Heart” stat, but even with your proposed idea, people would abuse it. Overly competitive players would just hunt down the pokemon that benefit the most from the boost during the campaign the same way that they grind for IVs and natures now.

    Speaking of which, I bred a few Misdreavus, Shinx, and Eevee, and I hated it. It really is a meat grinding system, and it actively encourages you to discard Pokemon that “aren’t good enough” since it’s so easy to just hatch another.

    Being unable to rename traded Pokemon is also a very bad design choice. I’ve had to breed just for the privilege of assigning a name to something I can’t catch in-game more than I’ve had to for egg moves or whatever. It feels weird having so many Pokemon with unique names, and a few that are just named after the species, even though I use them just as much.

    One feature I would like to add to battles are “Trainer Bonuses”, which gives your Pokemon little boosts based on your speed and ability to anticipate attacks. For example, the first trainer to issue a command gets a 10% speed boost for that turn, or, if you can predict what move the opponent will use, you get a 10% damage reduction or 5% chance to avoid the attack. Guessing incorrectly could increase the damage you take slightly, or some similar penalty. The idea is to reinforce your role as a trainer, and the fact that your Pokemon depend on you to be responsible.

    ..this turned out way too long. If you somehow made it to the end, thanks for reading. I hope it was as interesting to read as it was to think about.

    • Grubdog says:

      Thanks man, I love this comment, and yes I did read it all. Nuzlocke is something I’ve never tried because it seemed artificial, and fainting itself is enough to make me feel bad haha. It’s cool though how it highlights different ways to play and the great thing about Pokemon remains that the journey is up to the player. I’ve used some favourites (Butterfree and Durant) in a big competition before and they did pretty well, and the crowd cheered as they took down a Garchomp and some other generic beast. That’s definitely a rewarding angle to play.

      Trainer Bonuses are a great idea, I love it. Trainers should be individual and useful just like Pokemon are and it would add a more human aspect of pressure when you’re unsure what the right move is. Most of the big matches I’ve seen or taken part in have been decided with a small mistake.

      I might give Nuzlocke a shot just to see what it feels like. I also had another idea inspired by TwitchPlaysPokemon; release every Pokemon after each gym badge (except one low-level buddy who never battles). It would mean no attachments and starting from scratch each time, but also create a fearful feeling when you’re surrounded by big scary grass with no strong Pokemon! Might not work but it’s an idea.

      • GoldenJoe says:

        Glad you like the trainer idea. Your “new pokemon after each gym” idea also sounds very cool – maybe you could call it “N Mode”, since that is more or less how the antagonist of Black/White goes through the game.

        What is your friend code? I would like to battle/trade with you and the others in this thread. Maybe we could even get some 2v2s going.

        My code: 4098-2306-4369

      • Grubdog says:

        My 3DS code: 0516 7291 2607, though I don’t currently have a working 3DS (hence playing many old games). Hopefully will get a brand new XL soon though and transfer everything over, 2 vs 2 would be fun and a good reason to train some new Pokemon!

        Check out our community section for other like-minded gamers – http://pietriots.com/about/community/

    • Ephraim225 says:

      Popping in here to say I agree 100% with your suggestions except for the nature stuff – I like natures because they add a “personality” to your Pokémon and if that affected their interactions it’d be cool. I don’t think they really need to affect stats or anything else in any fashion. If they affect anything at all, they’ll breed to get the best one, and that only takes one hatched egg, but my Celebi turned out to be Adamant and that’s just silly. Oh, they also affect the Pokémon’s berry preferences, I don’t have a problem there :P

      I also REALLY like your suggestion of a speed bonus to whoever issued the command first. That could make things more frantic and fast-paced, and I never liked the flat “highest speed goes first” rule. How that’ll work with the AI is beyond me, but hey.

  5. gsnap says:

    Concerning natures… I think it would be interesting (and make more sense) if each pokemon had two possible natures, and that both natures were “good” for that specific pokemon. I think if people sat down and thought about it, each pokemon could easily have two stats that work best for them. For instance, Arcanine is supposed to be fast and strong, right? So any Arcanine (or Growlithe) you catch would be either Adamant (+attack) or Jolly (+speed). It would allow for variation, but no pokemon would have a crap nature. And because I’m already going down this road, have only 5 natures. Each stat has a nature that raises that stat. And get rid of the negatives to different natures. There’s no point to that, I think. You’re not likely to use that stat much anyway, why decrease it?

    Concerning IVs… I just don’t know how I feel about those. I do think that every pokemon caught in the wild should have at least 1 perfect IV. Probably random.

    I like your idea of the “heart” stat. Basically some sort of stat that becomes stronger the more time is spent with that pokemon battling, etc. That stat would never increase if the pokemon levels up via exp. share or rare candies or the day care center. Perhaps instead of increasing the pkmn’s crit rate though, maybe it could simply raise the effectiveness of the pkmn’s nature (using the two nature system I proposed earlier). For instance, A jolly Arcanine with a zero in “heart” would only have 5 points added to its speed. But an Arcanine with maxed out heart could have 20 or 30 (or more) points added to its speed stat. And pkmn traded or via eggs couldn’t max out this stat. Or maybe it would take them much longer to max it out.

    And for the love of god stop making obviously bad pokemon. Some pokemon, you don’t know they’ll be bad until the community gets ahold of them. Some are obviously bad, whether it’s typing, stats, or movepools (usually a bad combination of the 3). Don’t make a pkmn’s highest stat be special attack if their best moves are physical attacks.

    • Frank says:

      Another few ideas I just had while reading other people’s comments. The heart stat could increase faster, or have some sort of added benefit to it if the trainer nicknames their pokemon.

      And even though we’re discussing how to make our attachment to our pokemon more meaningful, a lot of people don’t care about that. They will trade pkmn and many people will even discard pokemon (this probably even happens a lot more now that nuzlockes are becoming more popular). How about, along with the pkmn day care, there could be something like a pokemon orphanage. As long as you’re connected online, you could go there and pick up pkmn that other real people have discarded. It would be completely random, but you could never, ever pick up any pokemon that you discarded. These pokemon would have trouble “trusting” you at first, so their heart stat would raise very slowy, but it’s max would be higher than other pokemon. That may not be the best way to handle it, but there would need to be a benefit for “adopting”. Basically, selfish players who throw their pokemon away are giving generous players a chance at a stronger pokemon. I think it’s a good concept, though I’m not sure of how best to implement it.

      • Grubdog says:

        Pokemon Orphanage sounds amazing, I would genuinely feel sorry for them based on where they came from. That would be enough incentive for me, perhaps they can just gain significantly more EXP in regular battles (and double the EV’s maybe) because they’ve learned how to be tough and smart on their own.

        Perhaps they could all get an exclusive move (HP recovery or something) taught to them by a caring NPC who runs the orphanage.

  6. Mr. Saturn says:

    Reading all this I have one to thing: I just don’t get Pokemon. Not at all.

    • Mr. Saturn says:

      I meant to say: “I have one thing to say”. I have no idea what went so wrong in that post.

  7. timg57867 says:

    This article certainly does bring up a lot of good points, especially with a Pokemon becoming more of a tool if bred for competitive play. But I think a lot these issues are more or less avoided if don’t competitively play and do other things like fill the Pokedex. Thing is, the the stories between Gens 1-5 got increasingly deeper along with the competitive features and each game offered more sidequests than the last. Seriously, it’s crazy how much there is to do in the 5th gen games.

    Now admittedly, this isn’t easy to do in X and Y because the story is a bit thinner and there isn’t as much bonus stuff to do as in previous gens, especially compared to that of the 5th gen games. But that’s likely because being the first 3D handheld game made this quite an ambitious project so they didn’t have the time to a make a 3D B&W level story. That said, I am confident that one of the areas the inevitable 3rd game (at least hopefully. Seriously Gamefreak, just make Pokemon Z and call it a day. If you make an X2 and Y2 I am just gonna cry) will really improve upon from X and Y is the story aspects.

  8. timg57867 says:

    Also, lol, comments are now moderated? Man, that Nintendo Direction article’s comments must of turned into a real mess…

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